By Bernie Bell
For years, I’ve been campaigning against the use of electric shock collars as ‘training’ devices for dogs. For centuries, humans have trained dogs, mostly humanely, by a mixture of trust, humane discipline and rewards! Training Ben-The-Dog was a long drawn out business. Terriers tend to want to do, what they want to do, not what you want them to do. But, we were friends, and we developed an understanding, based on affection, the Voice of Authority, and, it has to be said – The Magic Biscuit!
Mike had grown up with Labradors, who usually just want to please, and can be trained in no time at all, with ease.
Either as working dogs, or companion dogs, they have worked with humans for a very long time, and where would we be without them? We may not have survived, once we turned to farming.
My Dad used to train sheepdogs – collies, and he taught me how to train dogs, too. I couldn’t whistle like he could, so the taught me to project my voice, instead, which some who know me will not be surprised to hear!
My Dad wouldn’t have dreamt of using an electric shock collar to train his dogs. I will add, he trained his children, much as he trained his dogs, based entirely on the Voice of Authority, having an understanding, and affection. I do the same – and have a voice which works on animals, children, and drunks, none of whom should have electric shock collars used on them!
I’m getting a bit frivolous , there
It was something which strongly disturbed me, the increasing use of these, and similar devices, for ’training’. There were a number of times when I would intend to order something from a catalogue, then see that the same catalogue was selling these devices. I’d cut out the ad., and write to the company concerned, telling them that, as long as they sold these devices, they would not get any custom from me. I signed petitions – I did what I could.
It was good to know that Scotland and Wales had the humanity to ban them, and now, finally, England has followed suit.
I will site an example. Some years ago, I met someone I know, out walking her newly acquired Labrador puppy. A black Lab, too – the most sensible of the Labs. Golden – a bit dozy, Chocolate – a bit ditzy. She’d got a shock collar for him. She’s a vegetarian! I had a ‘discussion’ with her, but she was having none of it. I predicted a neurotic dog. How would any sentient creature respond, to suddenly having volts of electricity shot through them? Bound to make you jumpy.
Some time later, a mutual acquaintance told me that this person was having problems with the dog, generally jittery, not being house trained. Not surprising. I say again, what would be the likely outcome of a person getting an electric shock, every time they did something that someone disapproved of? I think being ‘nervy’ and wetting themselves, might be the least of it. And, in some cases, how is the animal supposed to even know why it’s receiving this treatment, from the person who is supposed to be part of its pack? Pack leaders do ‘train’, and do nip, if needed, but a nip is a different thing, to an electric shock.
So, I’ve had a right old rant there, and have been doing so, as I say, for years. And now – they are banned. Next thing, hopefully, the electric ’training’ fences, and those face halters which you see, cutting into the dogs eyes. More mistaken, un-necessary nonsense.
Anyone who knows animals, and knows how to be with them, doesn’t need any of this these cruel, harmful devices. And if they don’t know animals and don’t know how to be with them, then either don’t have an animal in your life, or…..go to training classes yourself, and learn! It works both ways.